10 festive Cotswold towns and villages to visit this Christmas

With festive markets, Christmas lights switch-on celebrations and independent shops for extra-special gifts, there’s nothing more magical than Christmas in the Cotswolds – with SoGlos highlighting some of the most festive towns and villages to visit this Christmas 2022.

By Annabel Lammas  |  Published
Have a holly jolly Christmas in the Cotswolds, with 10 of the most festive towns to visit this November and December 2022.
Have a holly jolly Christmas in the Cotswolds, with 10 of the most festive towns to visit this November and December 2022.
In partnership with Cotswold District Council  |  cotswolds.com
Cotswold District Council

Committed to supporting its local towns and villages this festive season, Cotswold District Council is encouraging consumers to visit and shop on its high streets, with a whole host of seasonal events to experience across the Cotswold district. This project is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Christmas is coming to the Cotswolds, bringing twinkling light switch-ons, carol singing and seasonal markets galore to some of Gloucestershire’s most picturesque villages and town centres.

From Cirencester’s famous markets to enchanting tree displays in Stow-on-the-Wold, you’ll be hard pushed to find a more magical place to spend the festive season – with SoGlos handpicking 10 charming Cotswold towns and villages that are spreading Christmas cheer this November and December 2022.

Christmas events in Cirencester

Christmas is coming to the capital of the Cotswolds — and Cirencester is the place to go to get your festive market fix this season.

The popular Advent Market is coming back on Saturday 26 November 2022, when the Christmas lights will be switched on for the first time — with falling snow, light projections and even silent fireworks to mark the occasion — and over 100 local traders will fill the town centre to showcase their wares.

Gift-hunters can find even more unique presents at the Cirencester Gift Market on selected dates from Sunday 11 to Thursday 22 December 2022; while children will love marvelling at the enchanting display of 35 Christmas trees in the parish church, all decorated by local businesses.

For even more festive inspiration, check out SoGlos's round up of 15 magical things to do in Cirencester this Christmas.

Christmas events in Tetbury

Don't miss the festive lantern parade at Tetbury's Christmas fair and market on Friday 2 December 2022, featuring stalls from a range of local organisations, crafters and small businesses, as well as jolly tunes from a brass band, carollers and the chance to visit Santa's grotto.

Stop by the Tetbury Goods Shed for a spot of Christmas shopping on Saturday 3 and 4 December 2022, with locally-crafted pottery, glasswork, upcycled pieces and jewellery for sale at its craft fair; and visit St Saviour's Church to admire the Christmas trees all decked out in their festive finery as part of the Christmas Tree Festival — launching on Thursday 1 December 2022.

Plus, the nearby Westonbirt Arboretum is lighting up for the festive season with the return of its ever-popular Enchanted Christmas illuminated trail from Friday 25 November to Wednesday 21 December 2022.

Christmas events in Chipping Campden

Kick off the festive celebrations at Chipping Campden Christmas market, when the historic Cotswold town transforms into a winter wonderland on Saturday 3 December 2022.

Visitors can munch on mince pies, sip mulled wine and look for Christmas decorations, cards and special gifts from the wide variety of arts and crafts stalls. Complete with the town’s Christmas lights switch-on at dusk, there’ll also be a special appearance from Father Christmas.

Shoppers are in luck too, with a separate gift market to discover inside the town hall that’s sticking around until Sunday 4 December 2022.

Christmas events in Stow-on-the-Wold

Mulled wine, mince pies and free homemade soup are all on offer at Stow’s festive light switch-on event, which will see the town’s Christmas tree illuminated, followed by a heart-warming festive performance by the choir from the local primary school, on Friday 2 December 2022.

The charming St Edward’s Church is also hosting a Christmas Tree Festival from Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 December 2022. Providing a stunning spectacle, there will be all kinds of beautifully-decorated Christmas trees on display at the church from 10am each day, with prize winners revealed in a special celebration service at 6pm on the Sunday.

Christmas events in Moreton-in-Marsh

Taking place on Saturday 26 November 2022, Moreton-in-Marsh’s Christmas market will open at 9.30am, featuring up to 75 traders offering festive goodies including a mixture of giftware, food and drink – with the town's big Christmas light switch-on taking place at the end of the festivities, to close the market on a high.

Plus, there’s the chance to meet Father Christmas throughout the day, with the man of the hour available to meet his adoring fans in his grotto from 11am.

Christmas events in Lechlade

Lechlade is lighting up for Christmas on Saturday 26 November 2022 and visitors are invited to gather in the Market Square to see the twinkling lights come to life – with a vibrant lantern parade through the town, too.

There's also live music from local duo, NIGHTJAR, and singers from St Lawrence School; plus plenty of refreshments, whether you want to warm up with a tea or coffee in the church or wander around with a mulled wine, before visiting the barbecue or grapping a crepe.

Meanwhile, children will be happy to hear that Santa and Mrs Claus will be in attendance, with traditional fairground rides for them to get dizzy on as well.

Christmas events in Fairford

Fairford is hosting its annual Christmas Market on Friday 2 December 2022, featuring local stalls and food vendors to pick up unique Christmas gifts or enjoy tasty hot food from.

Kicking off as the Christmas tree lights are switched on at 6.30pm, the stalls in Market Place will be open to explore until 8.30pm – and Santa will be around with his helpers to meet and greet all the excited children, too. 

Christmas events in Bourton-on-the-Water

Popular with visitors all year round, Bourton-on-the-Water is simply stunning at Christmas-time – and its famous Victorian Christmas Shop is a must-visit to get shoppers in the Christmas mood. 

The village's colourful Christmas tree in the river will be lit on Thursday 1 December 2022, creating a sparkling beacon in the middle of the River Windrush; while there are Christmas gift fairs taking place in Victoria Hall every Saturday and Sunday from Saturday 26 November to Sunday 11 December 2022.

Spreading the festive joy even further, the Rotary Christmas Charity Band Concert is taking place at The Cotswold School on Saturday 3 December 2022 – with lots of festive tunes and communal carol singing, plus a free mince pie for all ticketholders.

Christmas events in Guiting Power

Catch festive feels in a traditional Cotswold village with a winter visit to Guiting Power. Gather on the village green for mulled wine, mince pies and carols, as the Christmas tree lights are switched on on Saturday 3; and rock out to live music on Saturday 10 December 2022 for a head-banging Christmas bash in the village hall.

Stock your Christmas cupboards with artisan goods from The Cotswold Guy, with its Christmas hampers making fantastic gifts – and don’t miss the Enchanted Light Trail at the nearby Cotswold Farm Park for a magical experience from Friday 25 November until Saturday 31 December 2022.

Christmas events in Northleach

Christmas enthusiasts can plan the perfect festive evening in pretty Northleach, visiting The Wheatsheaf Inn for its very own Christmas fair – featuring free wine tasting and even a best festive dressed dog competition – inside its 'Northleach Narnia' heated marquee on Saturday 3 December 2022.

On the outskirts of town, Far Peak is hosting its own Christmas market on Saturday 10 December 2022, where visitors can browse for gifts from independent stalls, take part in festive craft sessions with Mrs Christmas and catch a glimpse of her husband abseiling down the climbing wall!

Or, for a more traditional affair, come together in the town's Market Place for carols around the Christmas tree at 5pm on Monday 19 December 2022.

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